Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blamires on the Christian Mind

A friend recently gave me a copy of The Christian Mind by Harry Blamires and I am enjoying it immensely - though I am not sure "enjoy" is the best word for such a book. This afternoon, I finished the first chapter of part two and the last two paragraphs struck home. I give them to you below, in the hope it may be convicting, encouraging and a spur to action.

We have become afraid of our own convictions. And our fear has
not been, in this respect, a wholly unworthy one. History has been full of warnings against the damage which fanatical dogmatists can do to human society and so to the Church itself. No men more loudly and impressively than the officers of the Holy Inquisition claimed that temporal well-being must be subordinated to eternal well-being; that physical pain and earthly suffering were as nothing when weighed in the balance against the damnation of a soul. One might go further and say that no body of men more strenuously strove to preserve the distinctness and distinctiveness of the Christian mind. We have perhaps been frightened too much by horrors of this
kind. It is because the devil is an angel that his evil power is so poisonous. It is because the Inquisitors had a crucial element of truth mixed up with their dismal self-deceptions that the perversions they represented were so diabolical.

Twentieth-century Christendom errs and no doubt will continue to err -- but it will not err in the direction of the Inquisition. Rather, through reacting against excessive dogmatism, against exclusiveness, against withdrawal from the proper activities of the world, it may destroy through a too yielding compliance with secularism, a too easy commerce of mind with mind, that powerful and lucid rational construction which constitutes its divinely guaranteed estimate of life.

That "crucial element of truth" is precisely what religious feminists get "mixed up with their dismal self-deceptions" which makes "the perversions they represent so diabolical". The crucial element of truth is our ontological equality as male and female -- and if you ever doubt that a patriarchalist thinks men and women are equal because of the way we think, act, believe, I beg you to recall my earlier post. We are equal in the only way that matters to a Christian - we were bought at the same price.

However, what religious feminists seem afraid of or unable to countenance is that within that equality, we can peel back the layers to reveal an equally inherent inequality. We really are different, bedrock differences seen in our anatomy, physiology, psychology. We were created by different methods for different purposes - Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve from Adam. They were not stood up in the garden side-by-side, created at the same time in the same way -- no, Eve was created from Adam and for Adam.

In the Church, we have become afraid of our own convictions -- so afraid, for so long, we no longer know what they should be. A grain of truth has been mixed with a lie and the heresies of religious feminism have spread through us like the hyphae of a mold. So silently, so quietly, so secretly that, like a mold taking over a load of bread, we are shot through with the invader before it grows large enough to be seen with the naked eye.

And this has happened because, as Blamires writes, we are not thinking Christianly. We might think correctly about this point of doctrine or that practice, but we don't have a Christian mind, there is no comprehensive Christian mind at work in our world today. Even the good folks fighting the battle who call themselves Complementatian are not thinking as radically Christian as they ought - witness Dr. Mohler's easy embrace of Sarah Palin as McCain's Vice Presidential running mate.

We need to take Blamires seriously, both his caution against the excesses of fanatical dogmatists and the error of being too yielding in reaction.

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